The move from primary school to secondary school is a big step. The buildings are bigger, there are new subjects to think about, new teachers to meet and new people to make friends with. On top of all this, you’ll probably find that you need to take more responsibility for looking after your diabetes.
But don’t let this worry you. There might be other pupils or teachers at your school who have diabetes, and your diabetes nurse will be able to speak to your teachers about diabetes if it’s needed.
You may be asked to go to a meeting with your new head of year, your nurse and your parents to discuss your diabetes. Your school may also have its own nurse who could come along too. Don’t worry about this; it’s nothing to be concerned about. It’s simply a way of making sure everyone knows what to expect. Although you probably already know a lot about managing your diabetes on your own, your teachers will need to know how to help if you ever have a hypo. They also need to know that you may need to miss school sometimes to visit the diabetes clinic.
You’ll meet loads of new people at secondary school, and make some good friends too. It is up to you how much you tell them about your diabetes, but remember that it is best to confide in them as they can be a vital help if you ever have a hypo. It’s best to be honest; tell them what to expect and how they can help you if you need them to.
As your new school will probably be bigger than your primary school, you may find yourself walking longer distances between classes. This could have an impact on your blood glucose, so make sure you check your blood glucose regularly so you can find out whether you need to change your diet or insulin intake. Also remember to carry snacks with you at all times, in case you feel your blood glucose going low.
You may have the chance to go on some great school trips at secondary school and there is no reason why you shouldn’t go, provided you can manage your diabetes well. Your parents may arrange a meeting with your teachers beforehand, to help you all plan for the trip. It shouldn’t matter whether it’s a day trip or a few nights away; if you plan well, your diabetes should not stop you going.
If you’ve had a meeting with your parents and teachers, they should know what to do in an emergency. But it’s important that you carry identification to show that you have diabetes, and also keep your mum, dad or carer’s phone number on you so that whoever comes to help you knows who to contact. You can download an “Everything you need to know” poster which contains some useful information about dealing with hypos. You can share this with your teachers or keep it in your school bag in a safe place.
Here is a simple checklist of things to remember when you start secondary school:
"My top tip is, if all your friends are having sweets, have extra insulin and have a little something but only now and then!"
Click here to download a printable PDF of this page